Restoring the Collapsed Hut of David

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Jewish Independence

The taste of freedom and independence was still fresh on the minds of Jewish people living in the time of Christ. It was less than 170 years earlier when Mattathias, an aged priest, single-handedly stood up against the Greek empire that was forcing the Jewish people to sacrifice their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to assimilate into the warm bath of the pagan culture. Mattathias was the only Jewish man to stand up and say, “Over my dead body!” 

But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: “Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left” (1 Maccabees 2:19–22).

The old Jewish priest, his sons Judah, Jonathan, and Simon, and a band of pious fighters were able to turn the tide in favor of God’s chosen. The yoke of Gentile oppression was eventually chased out of the Holy Land. 

For a brief moment in Israel’s history, the Jewish people governed themselves. They held freedom and independence in their hands during what’s known as the Hasmonean period (142–63 BC). Eventually, through a series of poor leadership decisions, the independent Jewish state fell back into the hands of the pagans.    

Roman rule over the Holy Land didn’t erase the aspirations of Jewish independence. The zealous spirit of Mattathias would not be forgotten. Every year on the 25th day of Kislev (November/December), the Jewish community celebrated Hanukkah, when Mattathias’ son Judah captured Jerusalem and the Temple and rededicated it to the worship of God. Hanukkah and the Fourth of July share the same theme: independence day! The major difference between Hanukkah and the Fourth of July is America celebrates its continued independence, while Israel looked back on independence lost. 

Roman Oppression

With every passing year the situation seemed to be getting worse for Israel. When Jesus was born, Herod the Great ruled Judea and Samaria. The Jewish people had a very contentious relationship with Herod and his family. They represented everything that was wrong in the political and religious structures of the day. 


Herod the Great was an Idumean (Edomite). His people were forcibly converted by the Hasmonean ruler, John Hyrcanus, when Israel was an independent state. The tables turned over the years when Herod’s family weaseled their way into the seats of power in Jerusalem with the help of Rome. 

Herod and his kin loved the prestige and power of Roman influence. Rome used the Herodian family to impose their rule, and the Herodian family used the Jewish people to maintain their way of life.

After the death of Herod the Great, Caesar Augustus imposed a Roman governorship to rule over the area that included Jerusalem. At least in Galilee, the ruler was pretending to have some Jewish sympathy. In Judea, it was full-on Roman oppression.

The prophets promised that Israel would be re-established as in the days of old—a national resurrection of the Davidic kingdom. “In that day I will rebuild the collapsing hut of David. I will seal its gaps, repair its ruins, and restore it to what it was like in days gone by” (Amos 9:11, NET). Israel at the birth of Christ looked nothing like Amos’ promise. In fact, it seemed like it was going in the opposite direction.

In the midst of Israel’s hopelessness of restoration and liberation from oppression, Jesus was born in Bethlehem—a sign of God’s faithfulness to restore the collapsed “hut of David.”

In the midst of Israel’s hopelessness of restoration and liberation from oppression, Jesus was born in Bethlehem—a sign of God’s faithfulness to restore the collapsed “hut of David.” The prophet Micah predicted the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). 

Jesus Our King

King David was the most consequential king in Old Testament history. He was a man after God’s own heart. David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem, had humble beginnings himself.  

God promised David a Son who would “establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13), a prophecy of Jesus’ reign (Matthew 1:1). Christ’s birth in the “city of David”—Bethlehem—crowns Him the descendant of Israel’s most memorialized king, King David (Romans 1:1–4). 

Jesus Our Lamb

Micah prophesied that Israel’s ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), specifically the “tower of the flock” (4:8). According to rabbinical texts, Bethlehem’s “tower of the flock” is an exclusive pasture where select shepherds tended to special flocks destined for Temple sacrifice. 

When Jesus was born, He was surrounded by flocks selected to be offered for Israel’s sins, setting the scene for the mission of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

When Jesus was born, He was surrounded by flocks selected to be offered for Israel’s sins, setting the scene for the mission of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 

Jesus Our God

Bethlehem reveals Immanuel, God with us. Micah prophesied the one born in Bethlehem, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (5:2, NASB). Micah saw that the One who would be born in Bethlehem was more than a newborn King, but one whose existence is eternal, a glimpse into the incarnation (John 1:1).

When Jesus was born, He came to bring freedom from sin’s oppression. Through His once-for-all sacrifice and resurrection, Jesus has restored the collapsed “hut of David” and promises to bring God’s Kingdom to Earth!

About the Author

Chris Katulka

Chris Katulka is the assistant director of North American Ministries for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, the host of The Friends of Israel Today radio program, a Bible teacher, and writer for Israel My Glory magazine.

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